Digital marketers have been battling with how to attribute sales to their promotional efforts. As a result, Ad sellers have been feeling the pressure to provide more hard evidence of the success of their ads. Google and Facebook have stepped up to the plate to try to provide advertisers with more insight into the effect that their ad spend is having on these platforms, not only on online metrics but also on offline metrics.
This post will outline the methods that Google and Facebook are using to do to help retailers measure the offline effect of online ad spend.

Google Store Visits

Rather than measure actual sales, Google estimates footfall in stores based on the number of people with smartphones (iOS and Android) that are at a retailer’s physical location. It looks something like this:

  1. Google measures the number of people with location history on their smartphone (iOS or Android) turned on that go to your physical retail locations.
  2. They extrapolate the sample to reflect the entire population
  3. Using this estimate of store visits advertisers can gauge the effect campaigns are having on the footfall in stores.

Although not measuring physical sales data yet, Google is currently in tests to do just that. Similar to Facebook, they will ask retailers to provide sales data to measure the effect of campaigns on sales in physical retail locations.

Facebook Conversion Lift Measurement

Facebook has begun offering select advertisers the chance to gain insight into the effectiveness of FB ad campaigns on their offline and online sales. The basic methodology is as follows:

  1. They create a control group and a test group of target prospects
  2. They show ads to the test group only
  3. The advertiser provides conversion data to Facebook either at the point of sale (offline) or through a conversion pixel (e-commerce).
  4. Facebook matches the data to determine whether the sales came from the test group or the control group.
  5. Any differences in conversion between the groups are attributed to the Facebook ads.

At the moment both Google and Facebook are offering these services only to large, multi-location retailers that can provide enough data to produce meaningful results, but they are looking at ways to increase availability to smaller retailers.


Online-To-Offline Metrics Increasingly Available, Important To Marketers
Google “Store Visits” Part Of Larger Movement Toward Metrics That Matter
From Speculation To Actual Sales, Facebook Debuts Conversion Lift Measurement
Conversion Lift: Helping Marketers Better Understand the Impact of Facebook Ads